I Am Persuaded
Opinions are cheap. Just listen to Talk Radio. Folks call in for their moment of glory of hearing their voice over the airwaves. TV commentators talk...talk...talk...In my OPINION most folks with common sense could sound reasonably intelligent as a commentator. After all, it is just an opinion.
Let me move beyond opinion to persuasion. Reflecting on the journey of my life it has become apparent that good things do not happen if we do not push or pull the wagon---farm terminology. The wagon is usually a 4-wheeled design intended to carry people or items. It does not have an engine or mechanical system to move it. People, a machine or animals are necessary to move the wagon.
About 1990 we needed to build a larger worship building. I was reluctant. After 4 church building programs I had surgery. In my mind a building program and surgery seemed to go together. Thus, I was reluctant to push/pull a building program. However, an elder observed to me: "Pastor, until you move no one moves!" I moved. Within months we were buying land and in process of building.
Today I met with a Christian brother. He came to the U.S. 12 years ago. He and his wife now live in a 5-bedroom home, and he has an export business.
Commonly I see immigrants coming to the U.S. pull ahead of folks born here. Working 12 to 16 hours 6 days per week, living in very economical housing, driving old cars...after a few years they save enough money to buy a nice home and drive a new car. Last evening one of our parishioners left the parking lot in a $30,000 car...they have only been in U.S. five years.
Consumptive living is a killer. Spend all the paycheck and put more on a credit card. Poor management. I saw a sign in Walmart that a return check fee is $50.00. Imagine someone bringing home a $300 paycheck and losing $50 at Walmart and another $35 at the bank for one bad check.
The point is that no plan IS A PLAN TO NOWHERE. No plan leaves the wagon sitting. No plan can load up a wagon with dreams and lots of fancy talk and leave the wagon in the same place years later with dreams broken and hope lost.
These are challenging times. The Holy Spirit's work in us is greater than all the devils of hell. The way to the future is to develop a plan to move the wagon. Pushing the wagon is extremely difficult and lacks ability to guide the wagon efficiently.
Pulling the wagon is more practical, but wisdom says that teamwork is important. My maternal grandfather had two great Roan horses. They were a team so powerful, efficient and disciplined that I have seen granddad walk with hands in his pockets and talk Joe and Smoke to pull a wagon thru gates barely wider thank the wagon.
Here is a little exercise for you. Ask some folks you meet to give you three words that they feel describe the psyche of Americans. Ask folks to give you words that describe their mental attitude towards society. When you have asked 10 to 15 persons in diverse locations for their opinion put the words together. You will have a strong suggestion about the prevailing disposition of Americans.
My hunch is that you will discover a growing paranoia. A loneliness. An insecurity about finances and our future finances as a nation. Confusion. Lack of trust. Struggle for honest and healthy relationships.
It is time to be proactive. Team. Get good folks together. Come up with a plan for our personal life and the corporate body of the Church. The wagon needs to move. We can move the wagon if we work together.
Can I encourage you to not spend your time frustrating. Gather wise counselors. Meet regularly with persons who are thinkers, who are optimists, who are willing to take available resources and believe that the wagon can be moved to higher ground. Be willing to sacrifice in the present to gain the preferred future (Hebrews 12). When you fall down, get up....get up again...and again. Pray about dreams that are bigger than you---God loves to be included.
Now, take a good look at that wagon, grease the axles, get a team together and get the wagon rolling. God only knows success...not failure.